Anger over planned power cut affecting Leyburn businesses

Richard Warne, owner of Inspired Chocolate.

A decision to cut power to businesses on a busy weekday has angered local company owners.

Northern Powergrid has told 80 homes and businesses in Leyburn it needs to cut their power on Friday, August 13 from 9am to 2pm.

Among those set to be affected are companies based on Leyburn Business Park.

Inspired Chocolate owner Richard Warne said a number of local businesses would suffer and are unhappy about the timing of the power cut.

He said: “This has massive implications for nearly all businesses on the park.

“For us, August is the busiest, most important month of the year and we face loosing a day’s sales, and just as critically a day and a half of chocolate making to meet customer orders etc.

“Similarly the team would loose shifts. Speaking to other businesses, the impact on them is just as bad.”

Mr Warne has raised the issue with Northern Powergrid but they have told him it will take up to 10 days to deal with the complaint.

“I have rang and appealed for this to be reconsidered or done out of business hours.

“It says it is to remove vegetation so why, for example, could this not be done at 5pm till 10pm?”

County councillor Karin Sedgwick said it “beggared belief” that there was no alternative to the 9am to 2pm switch off.

She added: “Evenings are still light enough for workers to deal with the overgrown vegetation.

“A compromise should be discussed and acted upon.

“I totally understand the frustrations of the businesses affected.”

Northern Powergrid said the company needed to carry out essential work to cut back vegetation which, if left to grow further, could cause disruption and damage to the overhead electricity lines which power more than 960 local homes and businesses.

A spokeswoman added: “It is vital this work is completed during growing season and before the weather changes bringing with it the increased risk of strong winds that could blow the trees onto our network and cause power cuts.

“We do understand concerns about interruptions to customers’ supplies, which is why we provide 10 days advance notice so local people and businesses can make arrangements to manage the potential impact for their personal circumstances.

“This may include businesses considering making their own alternative arrangements, such as securing a generator, for the period to minimise impact on their customers.

“This work can only be safely completed by temporarily switching off power, which will be from 9am to 2pm for around 80 customers on 13 August, and it’s part of wider multi-million pound vegetation management programme we deliver every year to protect the region’s power network.

“We would like to reassure those customers who will be temporarily affected that our teams will be focused on completing this essential vegetation maintenance work to protect their local power network as quickly as possible.”

The company said it had issued a leaflet with power cut resilience advice for businesses available here.